Michael Endelman

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    In My Room: Sia

    VIEW SIA'S ROOM, FULL-SIZE 1. TOY LAMB "I bought it for a friend for a dollar at this funny little auction in Australia, but then I couldn't give it to her, because it was too cool. It's also an instrument. [Blows into a hole on the lamb's belly] See?" 2. LICK-LICK "When I walked into the pound, he was already missing a leg -- it was bitten by a coyote -- and he was so nonplussed, so bereft, and he looked at me like, 'I cannot be bothered.' I thought, 'I just have to have you!' He's like a furry handbag, a furry slug. I named him Lick-Lick because he was just so licky." 3. SCULPTURE "A fan sent me this. It's a cast, with the lyrics to my song 'Breathe Me' engraved on it. She did it for an art gallery show, but it didn't sell. So she sent it to me. I'm not sure if it is her ass. Imagine if I had a fan's ass in my house -- that's dope!" 4.

  • Kelly Clarkson, 'My December' (RCA)

    Waging a public battle with label boss Clive Davis, Kelly Clarkson has become an unlikely symbol of artistic credibility (Davis has openly questioned My December's commercial appeal). And like Alanis and Avril before her, she is following a megahit with a self-written serious rock release -- musically downbeat, emotionally tortured, and not Top 40-tailored. But even without a "Since U Been Gone," Clarkson's bleacher-reaching vocals and irrepressible pluck are hard to dislike. With this collection of frosty kiss-offs ("Never Again"), snarling disco rock ("1 Minute"), and unusually subdued ballads ("Irvine"), she cements her place as the pop figurehead for the overlooked and underappreciated teenage girl in all of us. BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • KT Tunstall, 'Drastic Fantastic' (Virgin)

    With a bit of Chrissie Hynde's swagger and some of Dido's pristine vocal appeal, this strummy Scot created the estro-pop album of '06 with Eye to the Telescope -- heard in countless Hollywood romcoms and TV dramedies. The follow-up proves Tunstall is no fluke: Her effortless melodies drive jaunty power pop ("I Don't Want You Now") and fingerpicked coffeehouse folk ("White Bird"). But it also makes clear that Tunstall's glaring faults -- dull lyrics filled with pedestrian phrases -- aren't fleeting, either. Now Hear This:KT Tunstall - "Hold On" BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • Kevin Michael, 'Kevin Michael' (Downtown/Atlantic)

    With his downy afro and thrift-store gear, this 22-year-old singer looks the part of a bohemian soul eccentric. And on the first track of his debut, Michael delivers a true incense-and-beads anthem: "We All Want the Same Thing" is a clever let's-just-all-get-along party cut, powered by a chugging slide guitar vamp and a sprightly Lupe Fiasco rap. But the rest of the album buries otherwise thrilling moments -- the eerie "Ha Ha Ha," three-hanky ballad "Ain't Got You" -- amid a steady stream of generic R&B. And the schlocky Wyclef cameo? Indefensible. BUY: iTunesAmazon

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